Glasgow chippy boss warns against new parking charges 'damaging' city centre economy

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A Glasgow takeaway boss has voiced fears new council plans to charge for parking between 6pm to 10pm will discourage people from visiting the city centre in the evenings.

Blue Lagoon director Alessandro Varese calls for the plan to be scrapped over worries about the night time economy. It comes as a survey found a majority of companies in Glasgow  believe extending parking restrictions into the night would hurt their businesses.

Currently it is free to park in the city from 6pm to 10pm with charges only  applying between 8am to 6pm. The move to introduce the fees in the evening is part of a number of changes including increasing parking charges on the street and in car parks.

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It is understood the evening fee for motorists will be introduced in 2026 following consultation. They were agreed as part of a budget in February to save £107 million over three years.

Glasgow parking machine Glasgow parking machine
Glasgow parking machine

Mr Varese said the new parking policy would impact businesses, workers and the public. He said: “Businesses are already struggling at the moment. There is a cost of living crisis. The city relies so much on the night time economy. It keeps this city alive.”

He said the current free time in the evening gives people “breathing space” to park outside premises, which offers convenience.

Explaining how it could dissuade people from travelling into the city, he added: “Not all of these people are going to park in multi storey car parks or use public transport as it is unreliable. We will lose some of those people and it will result in a drop in footfall. They can park in shopping centres free of charge.”

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He added: “Us, along with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Scottish Hospitality Group, believe this will be a disaster for all concerned and ultimately result in a further drop in footfall in the city centre.”

Mr Varese said Blue Lagoon staff in Gordon Street also park nearby the premises while working in the evening, which he said promotes safety.

Conservative councillor Thomas Kerr said: “I’ve heard from many businesses – not just in our city centre – but across the city that are at breaking point and how these parking changes are the last thing they need.

“The SNP-Green council seem to be blissfully unaware about the devastating impact extending the time they are in place until 10pm will have on hospitality and our night-time economy.

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“It is the latest example in a long line of how out-of-touch this council administration is with Glasgow’s businesses. It’s like they want to oversee a permanent decline of our city centre.”

A survey organised by the Federation of Small Businesses and the Scottish Hospitality Group found that 97 per cent of respondents said the extension to parking charges would hurt their business and more than eight in 10 fear it would reduce footfall and turnover. The survey was completed by 205 businesses employed over 8,300 people. It was carried out between March 15 to March 20.

A council spokesman said: “Changes to pay and display hours in parking zones were agreed as part of a budget that required to find £107m worth savings from council services over the next three years.

“The budget has sought to target poverty and invest in support for communities with Council Tax frozen for the next year.

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“The longstanding approach with parking controls has been to prioritise parking for residents in the city’s 22 parking zones. By standardising parking hours across all zones we are aiming to provide the maximum benefit for permit holders seven days a week.

“A significant majority of people already come into the city centre by public transport and other forms of sustainable transport. We aim to build on this use of sustainable transport, but we also hope to encourage greater use of our off-street car parks, where discounted rates for overnight stays are available.

“Current data shows the city centre is busier in the evening and at the weekend than before the pandemic with people attracted to the centre for entertainment, food and drink. Our city centre plans are focused on creating a positive environment for visitors and a growing residential population.”

There are currently five parking zones where 8am to 10pm charges apply already – Garnethill, Kelvingrove, Woodlands, North Kelvin/Woodside and Hillhead.

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